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  • Adeline Guèdègbé

We have to do better: An Opinion Piece on Aboriginal Involvement in the Canada150 Celebrations

Dernière mise à jour : 2 juin 2020

One of the themes of last year’s Canada150 celebrations was reconciliation with aboriginal people. Now was that a success? The Canadian government highlights on their website that 39% of community projects were related to that same theme, but can we really say they’ve done enough?

Reconciliation can always be a touchy subject seeing as different people have different opinions on the topic. However, in my opinion, it is key for the Government to make its relationship with Aboriginal communities better than what it has been. Trudeau’s government has taken steps towards that by apologizing for the awful treatments that were put on Aboriginal people in history.

However, it’s clear that apologies can heal but actions have always spoken louder than words. Recently, the government’s actions haven’t been speaking so loudly, in my opinion.

Furthermore, I think it is completely unacceptable to still be able to say that some communities don’t have clear water to drink as well as to say the hundreds of missing women still haven’t been found whereas some can say that enough has been done to better the relationship between Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals.

As a country, we have to stop taking refuge in apologies because they are a step in the right direction, but they are definitely not the end of it. And since the government wanted to claim that reconciliation was at the forefront of their concerns both in 2017, and in the Canada150 celebrations, they need to be withhold their words and put genuine projects in place for there to be actual improvement in the way they have been treated in history, and with past governments.

In my eyes, the 39% of involvement in community projects and the addition of reconciliation as a theme for Canada150 was rather a symbolic move and one to significantly better the relationship between aboriginals and non-aboriginals. I’m sure it contributed to further the education of people on different aboriginal cultures (an education we still do not get in school), while also exposing people who are not often (or ever), in contact with aboriginal peoples, to them.

It is time that, in 2018, all people are treated equally in society (and it is mind-boggling that we still have to mention such a basic fact). Aboriginal peoples need to be included in any decision-making process concerning them. They need to be treated equally under the law, and they need to be treated like any other non-aboriginal Canadians. Celebrations can be fun and helpful, but they are only one step in a mile of others to achieve the final goal of reconciliation.

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